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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  July 3, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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distinction as a new york times. notable book of the year. just recently he's published, edited a volume by the library of america, it's actually four volumes, voices of the civil war. it's a wonderfulseries of books. steven sears and sheen. many are familiar with brooks at cwi, he's given a number of foc talksus focusing on the war and the east.he is and we also know that he is a sue push battlefield guide. many of you will have the day of pleasure on monday of followingl him around thede wilderness. those that have been with brooke before, in antietam, where he - managed to get his co tour guido to tour rdantietam creek. i wonder what he's going to do to his tour guy this year in thy
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wilderness. is he going to go bushwhacking in the wilderness? you're setting them on fire, g e nice, brooks. brooks is going to speak to us contingencies and circumstances, u.s. grant and the problem of virginia in 1864.ks brooks simpson. s [ applause ] >> well, good morning, everyone. i'd like to first thank the teas at the civil war institute. especially alison and diane as well as peter. i must admit that i feel naked up here without a scarf on. peter's fashion attire will whie understand that reference. while peter recognizes that his adviser gary gallagher made d nc mistakes, my binder did no suchs
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thi thing. i also thought they would dwell on the sexual practices and fantasies of confederate generals and their historians.n i thoughtab i'd tell a little story of my own in this regard. not about me. that's a tmi moment, you'll have to join me on facebook for that one. that several years ago, my wife, cheryle and i went to wife haven, which is the plantation where ulysses s. grant's in-laws had lived and was later owned by grant during his presidency. and we went in and i asked my ea
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wife nott to reveal who i was. i had worked there before, but whenever you go to a place, it's better to try to see it, at least from my point of view as e are someone they do not know. then you can see what kind of presentation they give to normae visitors to the area asbo oppos to somebody where they say, well, you know this, and you know -- it disrupts the entire experience. and cheryl has made it through exactly five chapters of migrant biography, she says once they th begin firing at each other, she goes to bed. o she had read a certain description of that book. she talked about when her went t fiancee hado gone off to war in mexico, that she has the want of anyone of the time named a bed post after her fiancee. and so we walked in, and the gu. says, well, looked at my wife,
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and he figures that women like to look at kitchens to see what kind of modern appliances there were in the ke t1870s. he looks at her and says, what room would you like to see? she says, i want to see the bedroom, i have to see that bed post.what i the rest of the trip was marked by that peculiar exchange. what i'm here to talk about today is about the problem of fo virginia in then minds of union military strategists and ulysses s. grant. virginia was more than just a state. in fact, it was m more than jusa state of mind, although it seemed to take up space rent
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free in the minds of any union civil and military leaders. but virginia was the major obstacle facing united states military strategy during the american civil war. and this is for two reasons. number one because the state contained the confederacy inia,h capital, richmond, virginia, pl which soon became an obsessive point of attack for union planners.ce the c and that capitol was defended by robert e. lee. those two reasons there, lee an. richmond transfixed union military planners. it's the way in which they pose a problem. it poses a problem militarily ii
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for unions, planners. it is after all the home field of lee and his army.irgini the army of northern virginia won all the big ones in virginia. they left virginia, they may encounter a little difficulty. if they were in their whom nst u ballpark, they equipped themselves exceedingly well in against union forces. how do you change that? how do you break the pattern ing aet tennis parlance of serve. that was the target of the army with serious problems of its y l own. the army of the potomac, which could be a fine reality show, at least in terms of its office corps. i don't know who kim kardashian would play in this army, but
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someone would. maybe governor warren. it was a dysfunctional and defeatist officer core at many critical points in the war, in its command element. its soldiers may not have felt r the same way, if the army of the potomac had ever fought as welle as they fought eachnc other, we wouldn't be having an 1864 conference today. it seemed in virginia the army of the potomac always found a way to lose. the biggest victory that the heg army of the potomac had experienced in virginia was a battle it had never fought. at least they had not assaulted lee in december of 1963 in an assault that would have been a w catastrophe in the minds of general warren and some other people. my run becomes a golden moment c
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byit emptying empty cities was e fantasy as george mcclellan beforehand. militarily virginia poses a major problem. it also poses a major problem la politically. it is thelle focus of a 19th century media.medi because the proximity of the two capitals, richmond and washington. people pay attention to what p i happens in virginia, in a way they do not pay attention to what happens in tennessee or mississippi or any other state west of the appalachian in mountains. abraham lincoln notices in 1862t how can we win all these in seven days? why do people pay attention to l what's going on in the east? to this day we're eastern concentric. in terms of generalship, it has to be a story of confederate
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generalship in the no one is seriously going to make the argument that braxton bragg and joe johnson, earl van dorn and others were the cream of the confederate leadership n crop. when you talk --fi you go into town, you will not find a cup ae with a brag picture on it maybe a rearview camera so you can back up to joe johnson in a parking space.erior we talk about confederate superior generalship, we're talking about the eastern theater. and, of course, richmond, it's as the east was everything. and, of course, richmond is a t target, notsy only had military value, but it had symbolic, political value. and it was a notion which by the
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way, would have been betrayed by anyone studying military history, if you capture the opponent's capital you want. we know that's not true, the american revolution shows that. if you capture richmond, the wa, will be over no matter what elsn might happen. logistically, virginia poses a o problem, of course, given the resources afforded by the shenandoah valley. richmond and its iron works. it's manpower. the confederacy augmented the military manpower it august sle meanted its enslaved population. people forget that the largest e export from the commonwealth of virginia were enslaved human beings. you're adding 400,000 people tog your workforce. a valuable one if you're waging a war.
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finally, top graphically, offer virginias poses problems. though it also offers opportunities. you'reea familiar with the east/west network of rivers. each of them providing an excellent point for con fed rats armies to sit around and challenge themselves.nock the most famous is the r rapahannack river network.those there's an opportunity for union military planners in that thoses rivers, plus the chesapeake bay and the james river that runs all the way up to richmond. can operate in a can cooperative army/navy campaign. you can in fact penetrate rather deeply into the commonwealth of virginia, and you can do so with fairly secure supply lines.t a e you can cut railroads, but you p
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really can't cut a river.we there's an opportunity for military planners and we all ad knowid somebody who did take th opportunity to understand that, george mcclellan and look how that turned out. and there's a legacy from that,e which is, of course, afterwardsh it would beer hard for the unio civil high command.war in other words, abraham lincoln to accept the notion of another waterborne operation against the richmond area.t that because that would suggest thatt mcclellan had been right all wat along. that's something you don't wanty to risk submitting, especially in a year where you're running against george mcclellan for president of the united states. we all know about the shenandoah valley. it runs toward washington and other interesting places. like gettysburg.he m it runsid away, into the middler nowhere, inms terms of southwes virginia. though i'm sure someone will
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tell me that virginia tech is - not nowhere. that's you al mackey. but that shenandoah valley cone allowed the confederate superhighway, to launch quick e. strikes. counter employees against invading yankees in the center part of the state.nd virginia offers the confederacy and it imposes a lot of challenges for union commanders. it's those challenges, lessons,d solutions i want to talk about as they evolve in the mind of ulysses s. grant between 1863 and 1864. grant assesses the situation, tries out solutions, adjusts to circumstances. improvises, innovates. thing i it's one thing that's t interesting about grant. when things didn't go well, grant had another idea. simpl he just didn't simply sit and pout and say, it didn't work, my plan was perfect.
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it went awry. gee, tough luck. back to let's remember first, the reason i bring it back to 1863, in thay august of that year, grant heard that there had been a movement e afoot to have him place george g.meade. grant made clear he did not wany that job, he knew the capabilities of his generals and men where they were, he also knew the devils that were there like the recently ousted john mcchainen. and he had to learn everything, and knew if he went east, fight with generals and men he did not know their strengthens and weaknesses. he also knew the last time a t e westerner had gone east, things had not gone well.f the feathers were ruffled. and he knew that the army of the
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potomac would resent the imposition of another outsider. so he's already aware. the rumors about the army has already made their way west by the middle of the conflict. in january 1864, however, henry hallick asked grant to outline t campaign for the west in 1864, grant is a theater commander, yr but he also asks grant, what's your thinking about the easternd theater. grant turns to two people to help draw up a strategic plan. this plan is often overlooked but it's something you should understand, if you want to understand what happens in 1864t what grant did do versus what grant wanted to do. and the whole plan was based upon the notion that the best
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way to deal with virginia was to avoid it as much as possible.not that while the army of the b wol potomacd may stay in north shint centraonl virginia, it's major b would be to protect washington and keep lee in place. the major operation would be an amphibious operation against the north carolina coast. where a calm of approximately 60,000 men would land, penetrate into north carolina where it was known that many white southerners were dissatisfied with the confederacy, or you could sniff those rail lines, where in fact you could enlist . african-americans in support of and the cause of the united states and freedom. and so this invasion plan was bt not only militarily interesting, but it also had political ramifications which would have shown just how revolutionary rtn this war had become.
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and address the issue of the as hearts and minds of many white . southerners as well as the thirst for freedom of many blace southerners. lee would be neutralized in this. unless he went to north carolina, unless lee left his ol state. and think about this, during the american civil war. once lee is put in command of r the northern army in virginia. he never visits another ad tha confederate state. you may forget that lee, beforen he had that position did in fact spend some time in south carolina, georgia, the coastal r defenses. but once he's put in command of, the army, he's never going to go into another confederate state. he'll go into maryland, he'll go into pennsylvania, but he's notc leavingom virginia. this plan would have forced lee to come out and fight or attack an advantageous situation in northern virginia. at least that was grant's hope.
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the plan's rejected.not he makesgo it clear, we're not going to do that. he claimed they didn't have enough men, in fact, they had n enough men in early 1864 to th execute this plan. they're supposed to be 60 to 70,000 men in this column, start doing the math and see how many people grant had at the outset, plus the army of the james. there was sufficient manpower. why didn't he want to do this? and he's still the general and chief at this time, he's very . good, provided a map in front of him, and an empty file cabinet e to be filled. he points out very nicely that we aregy committed to the overland strategy as much as possible. i point out this plan from the beginning. grant reall sy didn't want to fight in virginia. he didn't see that it made a lo. of sense to fight robert e. lee on his home turf.being and far from this notion of a
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war of grinding attrition as being grant's initial attempt. this is a war of maneuver using the union's advantage in naval power to seek to move the war out of virginia all together as a theater of decision. he's told by his superiors, you're not going to be able to do that.wh that plan neveren comes up agai even when grant is named general in chief in march of 1864. grant then goes back to the drawing board, what's he going o to do this time? well, by march of 1864, grant'si learned some things about his e future, he learns he's going to wear three stars. he's going to be the general in chief of the armies of the e tof united states, he's going to have to face the challenge of robert e. lee, because that's ok wants.verybody and he can't go back west. he's got to go east. people expect him to take lee on in a clash of titans.
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he also realizes when he's in the east, that people in the of district of columbia mettle far too often with the army of the potomac. and some people are far too interested in what's going on ie washington. everyonets forgets the first ti grant meets meade in virginia, he goes back with meade to eforh washington, meade has to testify before the joint committee about meade's great defeat at gettysburg, and how he was saved by dan sickles and dan butterfield, and a cast of midgets. and that teaches grant something. one of the first orders grant issues upon becoming general in chief, you can't go to washington from the army withouf having a counter advance from headquarters. there's not going to beti anyc e
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of this back door back stabbing, that is characteristic of a none culture that had been promoted s by none other than the president of the united states, abraham lincoln. grant also knew he had the challenge of popular expectation, that's why you get a third star, overall command.a because you're goingon to have dress the problem of virginia head on. until grant devises a plan, which you heard elements of already. a plan which in virginia has four prongs. operation southwest virginia, an operation through the shenandoah valley. a column moving toward richmondn and petersburg along the james river, and then the main army maneuver in north central virginia, the central virginia, the army of the potomac that a would move to engage lee, this was again a plan that didn't
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look toward bloody battles of attrition. grant ino fact, hoped to shred the confederate logistical network. threaten richmond indirectly, hw and force lee to fight a battle not of his own choosing. the that if this plan worked, the union would finally possess the shenandoah valley, thus depriving the confederacy of the superhighway of invasion, the r plan worked either richmond or petersburg would fall, or at hes least the railroads between those cities south, toward the , rest of the confederacy would bh severed. and leeer would find himself either in central virginia trying to do something against the army of the potomac, or rushing back to defend richmond with the army of the potomac on its heels. yes, i understand, this is a sentence the army of the potomac on its heels. this is not a phrase you will hear very often except in one's
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imagination, you don't see that happen until april of 1865.t ina you're going to force lee to fight in this advantageous way by threatening his flanks, his i rear, hiss logistical network.l this is a shrunken version of what you can call the comstock e north plan. you threaten lee's rear and his flanks at the same there's only one problem with this plan, that for all the leeway that abraham lincoln was willing to give ulysses s. nders had to suffertill with certain subordinate kmanters to demand army commands, including franz siegee and benjamin butler with the wd army of the ajames. that the heat of the plan would be
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grant or someone who supervisedn thede army of the potomac thiss directly. what's really important here, understand, this is not seen toa be aring war of attrition in tes wearing people down through continuous combat. it's supposed to be something else. it's supposed to force lee intof a difficult position where no mr matter what he does, it won't turn out well. we forget that actually for the first week or so, this plan wilh worked inea central virginia, le you'll hear all about what was a going on in the wilderness, and then responsibsponsylvania. we do find out that grant can'to crush lee's army, despite all his efforts to move his men around, sometimes asking a s ofi little too much of that army, iy terms of the command capabilities. trying to figure out how that army works. ,ut on the other hand, robert e.
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lee could not do that either, because he didn't listen don, w sufficiently to john b. gordon whose recollections are how we t could have won the war had they listened to me.orry a we don't have to worry about arm chair historians being arm chais generals, but we have some arm chair generals writing their memoirs, i could have won the war. grant finds out the army of the potomac is not responsive enough to his impatient touch.touc but still, by the time of may 11th, the day before the assault, grant writes back to washington and says, you know, i will fight it out if it takes all summer.eek. he promised grant would give up within the he why was he doing that? he thought he had lee pinned in place at that moment. if you have to fight that ight battle, you might as well fight in sponsylvania.
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if butler does his job, the armo north of virginia will be swallowed up. cut off from its supplies, the confederate capitol will fall. as we all know, that's not what happened. rather, at new market, franz siegel captured defeat on may 15th, benjamin butler decided to enjoy the beautiful vacation vistas rather than move any more aggressively than he could. grant's plan breaks within the first two weeks. we talk about how no plan of combat survives initial contact with the enemy. and this is one of those cases.c and so what you have to evaluate with grant here, is not that hiw
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plan fails, but what does he doe when his plan fails? because we know too many generals when their plan fails,e theylv went back cried themselves to sleep, and then prepared to write a memoir saying, it's not my fault, boss sometimes writing to the president of the united states and the secretary of war saying, the fault is not with me, the fault is with somebody else in washington. grant said this has been on his mind since the beginning as an option. he makes his way to unite with the army of the james at the james river. which is what he does, and then we all know the story of pearl harbor where we don't, and we think we do. because the fact of the matter is, the cold harbor is by no
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means quite the physical disaster that might be a psychological setback, in terms of actual damage done to the army. at more people die in the bloody angle than die at cold harbor. what we view those actions wa significantly differently. the real question is, was there any payoff? pay the answer is no. there's no >> he talked about with people from the beginning of the campaign, there's an idea that a will go around, that all of a sudden, inspiration struck grang on june 4th or 5th.he jam i guesses we'll go to the army the james, just call amazon prime and get pontoons moved to
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the james river. >> grant had a much better understanding logistics. rather he thought about this ino the u go across st. ped to the james. the failure to take petersburg, and the story of this being a matter of time. robert e. lee.hought i it's not a matter of time, everyone forgets the matter of time that is involved here is o that it's aof presidential election year, you're going to run out of time on the first two -- in november, 1864.cumben. you have to produce the resultsu that persuade the electorate to elect the incumbent.
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the last president to be renominated by his party at that time was martin van buren in he 1840lp who lost amid rumors he wore women's underclothing to help a bad back. see, my knowledge of sex goes far beyond carmichael's knowledge of civil war sex.u ge you say something about blogging, you get it in return he also found out that he thought lee was an impressive opponent, his army was flawed. at one point he turned to james h. wilson and went what's wrong with this armor? how do i fix this up? tom
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you have an indian chief on staff, give him a tomahawk and let him go to work. and grant interesting in this notion -- who should he target? indiscriminate violence and kill ing by the end of june, 1864, grant is stuck around richmond o and petersburg. he has achieved one goal here, . goal that robert e. lee does ft understand, which is if he's stuck, so is robert e. lee, lee's effort to become unstuck this is awfully daring. lee has sent jubil early north lee's detaching a significant part of his army to try to haveo mischiefn. that will catch somet off balance, threaten n'
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washington, get inside lincoln's head this has happened before, why couldn't it have happened again? the story of july and august 1864, while grant finally decides, i think, is that he e t can't win f here he might try t win the most famous instance of which was the battle of the crater probably cannot have that battle he wants to have here.. he wants to make sure if he doesn't win, neither does robern e. lee. this is taking lee out. those of you who are sports fand
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s the new york jets had a wide receiver named don maynard who e left asr. the afl all time leadg pass catcher much during super e bowl three. joe namath and the upstart jetsr over the baltimore colts, maynard never caught a pass andg afte r namath just missed connecting with him in the games they used maynard as a decoy to take himtr out and free up othec receivers. he's going to be the decoy, take people out, he's going to neutralize them while other individuals might accomplish the task that grant might somehow be his own. grant made sure in the summer of 1864, that if virginia can't be the theater of decision for him,
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it will not be the theater of decision for robert e. lee either. to do this, however, he does e have to wrestle with the issue of jubel early in the shenandoah vall valley. after -- this is what the peoplh underestimate, exactly how much damage early did. he was expecting reinforcements, including the 19th core to arrive at petersburg when early moves north, not only does grant have to send the sixth porter, he also has to earmark the 19th floor, which he thought would reinforce his operations around petersburg and form what's called the army of the shenandoah. early, did a lot of damage by no diverting resources. and making people pay attention to washington, which again in ae
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election year,r you can see confederate forces, looking at n the silver spring metro station. that's something you might want to worry about. and so there's an image problem here. image is everything. in a presidential election year grant has to labor through, reconstructing a command structure around the district os columbia, this is oneoo of the odder stories of the war, he soon found out that henry iquor hallick -- whenever confederates were near, henry hallick knew where his liquor cabinet was drunk. there was talk of -- hold your breath, george mcclellan being appointed to defend a a nu washington, which would havemb been ironic on a number of other levels. there was george of george meade who wasrs truly irritable by th
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time, and unhappy with his might commander. and if you w had ambrose as a eg supportive commander, you might understand why. and then we talk about transferring meade to the e wash washington area, and in the end, of course, after first trying out david hunter for a few days. david hunter steps aside, and phil sheridan takes over. to and it's sheridan's mission not only to defend washington but ta track down and eliminate jubel early, take away lee's last ace. the last chance lee has of upsetting the apple cart. >> although he took his time to the point grant visits him to say, when are you moving. trainb only to find out that sheridan -- to find out by the time he got back by train and city point that sheridan had inh fact moved. that onl vyal would sheridan's t
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victories, was grant able to take the shenandoah valley out h of the war, and to rob robert e. lee of his last chance to upset the apple cart in virginia. what grant had done, he couldn't win, but he needed to make sure lee couldn't win either. and the war would have to be heu decided elsewhere. where again union military leadership was superior to its confederate counterpart. and you see that in september and october of 1864. september 2nd, empty city. partially burned already, sherman is a completist. he takes care of it later on. grant makes sure around richmon. petersburg, lee can't move. he's not sitting in place, by the way, he's probing, he's extending his lines, he's launching a limited offensive, he tells his commander not
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sometimes, do not attack in trench positions, if they come out in the buopen, fire away. sheridan scores a series of dramatic victories.hi winchester, fishers hill and . cedar creek. gets to ride his horse all the way back. remember that tree stump, we talked about that yesterday. you turn from the tree stump,'s you see sheridan's stuffed horse looking very still. i have no idea why civil war generals likeho the stuff. they're horses, i've seen enough of them by now.on displ putting old baldy, who just has his head on display now. but sherman's and sheridan's a'' victories, which capture the popular imagination, which between them assure abraham lincoln's elections are made possible in court by grant neutralizing lee, lee was the u only guy who could have turned
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the tables for the confederacy.u and if you take lee out.ificed y if you sacrifice yourself.ther th just as the jets havere used maynard to open up other receiving opportunities, you can take out the confederacies only chance of victory on the field. others do the stuff that you get attention for, but in the end, e you get what you want to do, and this is why people forget, we talk about grant's campaign in 1864, grant's the general in chief, it's all his campaign. virginia is just a part of it. he doesn't care whether it's one in virginia or georgia or even outside nashville, tennessee. he just cares that it's warm.sha and that's where his generalship in 1864 shows a resilience.
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a determination not to be checked, which makes grant a model of american military command. and so that is how ulysses s. grant dealt with the problem of virginia in 1864. thank you. [ applause ] >> now on to the nightclub portion. i will end with frank sinatra, new york, new york.ybody bu but if any of you questions, we have microphones and anybody but al mackey can ask a question. here's the challenge to the rest of you. make it so that al can't ask a question. run to those microphones right now. al is a man who loves the
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camera. okay, you're all cowards, i got all and your name is, sir? al >> al mackey, virginia tech. >> by the way, there was not much in southwestern virginia a the time. at the >> some things never change. go ahead. >> three words. decade of dominance. a little bit about the history. if you can answer a question nt that is boggled my mind for a little bit. does grant actually order specifically order that assault at cold harbor that is so famous in his memoirs.etted porters said that grant said that he regretted the assault it more than any that he had
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ordered. whereas when grant wrote about it, he talked about it basically in a passive voice. he regretted that the assault was ordered. meade in his letter to his wife said that he had command of the field all day. so did grant actually order that particular assault or was that e more meade's order. >> it would be meade's order, in fact, meade and grant had had a- difficult time about ten days before the north anna. in which meade would not be abla to control his army. one of the results of this, by m the way,ea he puts ambrose burnside directly under meade. where before they have this cumbersome arrangement where nd burnside's ninth core would be directed by grant and is now t t placed under meadehe. gra
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the concept of the operation generally is grant's. the buck stops here, he's the guy responsible. but in terms of issuing of orders and preparing for what t goes on on june 3rd, that's up to george g. meade.ssues meade issues orders to his sub ordinances. his core commanders.corps and the evidence shows that those three core commanders especially hancock did not do their job on june 3.he in ascertaining where the confederates were and how to move ahead.rag ab and you're right, who else would brag about being in command of cold harbor, but someone who is frustrated about not being in command at all. >> the last assault, the renewal assault was at the end which was again, meade kept on saying, push forward, keep on saying grn
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what you want. grant saw that as a useless -- d they used to say an effusion ofd blood without any result. i think that's what grant understood, it's one thing to shed blood to achieve something, when blood is shed for no apparent purpose. that's something that moves a guy like grant. >> john lester of chicago illinois. why do you think it took lincole in the north so long to find a commander who wasn't so interested in politics in d.c., such as grants. did it have anything to do with the great popularity of political patronage in the army that started back with andrew jackson? why do you think it took so long. >> first off, we're afraid that grant had political ambitions, there was talk, in fact in the 1860s, that grant would be an ideal presidential candidate in 1864. grant tried to handle this in a
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jokingly and more serious way. all i ever wanted to be was mayor of my they haven't finished the sidewalk to my house yet. i'd like that done.had th grant already hade taste for tha guilded age back in 1863. when grant comes to galina in 1865, there's a big banner. the sidewalk is built. but then, of course, they give them another house somewhere be else, by the way, the people understood to keep their job, they had to keep their general happy. gra later on, grant in fact writes letters, making it clear that h has no political ambitions, he n politician is an awful job. it's a slavish life as he puts k it, and he writes a letter to frank blair, who is one of his generals, who is now a s, i d congressman in o washington, an he says, i don't want to be president, do not show this letter to anyone unless it be the president himself. otherwise, show lincoln. and it's not until that lincoln
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ascertains that grant has no political ambition, that he get, behind the lieutenant general bill. before that, that had been believ stalled ine congress. g why did it take so long?liticall i believe all these generals arn politically networked. william t. sherman hated fa politicians, thright? but his foster father/father-in-law, you want to talk about sex and family relationship, let's talk about the shermans for a while. his fathers, foster fathers, political adviser. his brothers have been -- his other brother john is a senator from ohio. they're all pretty well connected. besides that, grant and sherman had no political connections. the real question was, why did it take so long?presid grant didn't want to be en president at that time, that's going to change.g, you have to understand, until
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vehicles burg grant's record is pretty mixed? he wins here, stuck outside of vicksburg here, then he wins at vicksburg, that's job security at vicksburg. then he's not going to be fired, if you're lincoln, would you move him east?usly in or might you use him more n advantageously? grant holds out and makes me rank third star in a bill - do n introduced -- don't say that these guys aren't politically connected. they all t are. i think the thing is, how do nni they use those focal connectionl and do they challenge lincoln? or do they work with lincoln?rro you willnd never find correspondence characterizing lincoln and the words used by george mcclellan in the correspondence of ulysses s. grant. and i thinkrk when we're talkin about subordinates work.
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it's how the subordinates work that's often important? at the end of your presentationl youle alluded to the business around nashville.acy at and, of course, after that was the destruction of the army of the confederacy at that point. and the success of general mome thomas. could you talk about that for a moment or two, and perhaps a ths little bit about the relationship between grant and thomas? >> the relationship between the grant and thomas was a strained one, there was no chemistry between the two men. that problem was mutual. if you read the telegraphic correspondence between thomas l grant andle henry hallick, prioi to nashville, you find that thomas doesn't want to tell grant what's going grant's being very impatient
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asking thomas what are you doing. i expect you to attack thomas, . i'm going to attack on decembern 5tt h.we finally grant would write what happened? i didn't attack because of this, we didn't have enough horses. okay, you better attack.ram. a couple days down the road, i promise. no telegram from thomas. what's going on here.n. i decided to delay the attack again. now, you can say -- and i think understandably so, that thomas being the man on the scene, and given the obstacles he's facingc is showing prudence. i'd say on the other hand if yu someone's asking you a why you n aren'tot getting something donei becauseon you're not keeping upo date. you have a communications problem to. i think if we look at grant's anxiety and grant's doing all these other things at the same t time he's addressing nashville. he's trying to get ready to take wilmington and ft. fisher, cut the james river canal. dealing with operations opposite
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lee at petersburg. you kind of want to know from g. your subordinates keep me informed of what's going on. mes don't make mek ask we all know this as parents, don't make me ask you. make me . tell me. thomas wouldn't do that but he could tell hallek. same if you read the other correspond ens he's getting flack. why isn't thomas moving? they compare thomas to mcclellan and rosekranz. i think one of the things you have to do i think as a historian is put yourself in someone's place and take away a that great advantage of hindsight. think that's ridiculous is a relationship and that grant's a fool because nashville is such l signal victory. grant doesn't know that. in fact, thomas tells grant thad hood poses a serious threat. het so if you heard that, wouldn't
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you think hood posed a serious threat in that's what the man on the ground tells you. so you look at that network end communication and you also get p the fact that in the end many do peopleye in this room could hav destroyed john bell hood at nashville because john bell hoom had done such a good job of destroying the army of tennessee himself. that fbo relationship becomes - think you have to be fair to both men by saying, they didn'tl work well with each other. they did not communicate well with each other. they did not trust each other and so i can't single one man out over the, an i thinkd relationships are two way streets and that the s relationship is a dead end at each end>> of the street. yes? >> your reference to grant's comment about being mayor of oke galina prompts me to ask you, or
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was that an unusual stroke of sen humor for him or was he someone with a real sense of humor in these years? >> well, yes. i won't have the version of u.s. grant jokes. but my favorite might be the one about charles sumner in which ie grant was apprised of the fact sumner did not believe in the bible and grant'ss, b reply tha because he didn't write it. >> was grant upset when he came out east, he was so familiar with the west and all his sp generals out there and he couldn't be caught up to speed out east when he was wit transferred, was he almost confused with the -- with meade? and subordinate and all the
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conflicting areas surrounding that? >> he certainly was personally r frustrated.ext many of you know or hear the lad tale in the next several days ie the o opening of the overland campaign in the battle of the wilderness, grant's whittling and seems almost calm and smoki smoking cigars. grant was workinrkgs oftener vo energy and not about robert e. lee but the army of the potomac. a new car for new the first time - and he doesn't know how it operates and what iw can do and what it can't do.hose and at the end of those two s, t days, grant has hacked the cotton gloves he'd worn into day through one day smoking 24 cigars. and when yule attacks on the evening of may 6th, lots of accounts show that grant was
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veryrath frustrated and who ras quarter's account which is mman. rather famous is go back to thel command. think about what you're goingngd do. some of you think that robert e. lee is going to turn a double th somersault and land on the was flanks at the same time. he explodes. i thought it was chancellorvills at the point but he is upset. he is angry. he is frustrated. and he's got to figure out ways to manage that because that's not the sign of a good commander to behave badly. yes? >> this might be a similar question to his.landscap did grant have an issue with the natural landscape in virginia? because this is his -- because he transferred from the west to the east. >> he wasn't familiar with it.s- so,sm for example, that smith , plan, he sends it over to thomas and after all grew up as a virginian and gets thomas's
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feedback and says maybe he does should invade in suffolk, virginia, instead. he doesn't know this place. robert e. lee knows it like the back of his hand and if he doesn't his men do. the army of the potomac, they don't know the terrain very well. the maps ares wh poor during th campaign. they go to places on maps which don't exist. and so it's kind of hard to do certain things if there's no jet hodgekiss in terms of managing these things. most commanders, in fact, do get feedback at maps are awful. so no. it's not his -- i think we haveh time for, what, two more? yes? >> i'm struck with the -- of those union forces that are poised to launch attacks in the edring of 1864, you've got some awfully weak reads leading those prongs. except for sherman and grant and
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meade. was there nouc other choice? was grant stuck with those guys? i mean, would it be impossible a for an mvecpherson or a sheridaa to have gone into one of those spots and so why not? >> he was stuck with those guys not because they're politicians. because they had seniority. coud more than anything.s, the m they could demand. they could request and demand in certain cases and get the position. grant finally gets to fire o shw people because t they're incompetent but they have to show they're incompetent first and the specific reference ther is nathaniel banks in louisianae so they have to do something incompetent. grant has to overcome lincoln'sn interest in these people politically and butler's case il doesn't happen until after the f campaign's of '64, early '65 and then lincoln says, okay. lincoln's re-elected. so there are restraints upon and
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constraints on what grant can do. and it's a tribute instead of grant writing letters to other o peoplens expressing frustration about the constraints we worked within them. >> jeff skillings, brit toll, am rhode island. this might be a terribly nooif s question in a, room filled wit historians and authors, but, is there anything that today's the military leaders involved in f p today'sle wars can learn from t generalship of people like sherman and grant? >> understand why you're fighting. and the way and how you fight se should serve the purpose of why you're fighting. more than anything i want to congratulate all of fo you. none have asked me a question about grantut g and i toast you as a result.pplause] thank you very much.
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remind your children in this bicentennial year when we are the first generation of americans to have experienced the attacks on the continental united states. we have the first generation of americans to have felt what it was like to have our government buildings attacked. remind your children that freedom is not free. and that our country's greatness is found in one another. that's what the star spangled banner is about. that's what this commemoration year is about. to tell that story and to lift every voice and to sing. >> a dlee-day fourth of july weekend starts friday on american history tv including the 200th anniversary of the star spangled banner. friday at 8:30 p.m. eastern. visit the college classroom of professor joel howell talking about u.s. government human radiation experts after world war ii through the cold war and sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern a
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preview of jeffrey engel's manuscript of george h.w. bush and the peaceful end to the cold war. on the next "washington journal," daniel stein and benjamin johnson discuss whether immigration to the u.s. hurts or helps the country. after that, charles murray of the american enterprise institute looks at american exceptionalism. plus your phone calls, facebook comments and tweets. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. now you can keep in touch with current events from the nation's capital using any phone any time. simply call 202-626-8888. to hear congressional coverage, public affairs forums and today's "washington journal" program and every weekday listen to a recap at 5:00 p.m. eastern
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on washington today. you can also hear audio of the five networks sunday public affairs programs beginning sundays at noon eastern. c-span radio on audionow, call 202-626-8888. long distance or phone charges may apply. next on american history tv, a ri kelman out university of california-davis discusses the sand creek massacre. november 29th, 1864, attack of u.s. army troops on a cheyenne and arapaho indian village in colorado territory. this is from the gettiesburg college war ins tult annual summer conference taking place in june. it's about an hour. [ applause ]